Saturday, April 12, 2014

Everybody's Back on the Assabet

This splendid spring morning found the Assabet River coming back to life, so to speak.  Shortly after launching at Magazu's Landing in Stow, MA, I encountered Patrick who was fishing from a nice open boat he built himself over the winter.  Even with a camera in my pocket, I forgot to get a photo of him and his boat.  In talking about the absence of spring peepers, Patrick mentioned having heard them a little further upriver, and I did hear a few soloists when I reached the spot he mentioned.  The whole chorus has yet to chime in.

On my paddle upriver I encountered many recent returnees such as this heron...
...and this octopus...

Leaving the river for a short trip up Fort Meadow Brook provided this, always welcome, view...

Last season's duck hunt left this interesting presentation in the brook...

Once back on the river, I continued up to the ford-way where an upriver assault did not look promising...

Instead, I turned around and began my trip back downriver.  En route I saw ospreys, turkey vultures, and this pair of killdeer...

The strangest encounter I had today was with this turtle...
 
 
He was fearless and never plopped from his log despite the proximity of my boat.  I'm wondering if he might be a juvenile Blandings turtle?  If so, it would be my first ever encounter with that species.
 
Today's lunch spot had this grand view...
 
Today's trash haul, not so much...
 
There were 92 recyclable containers (14 redeemable) and 84 pieces of miscellaneous rubbish such as plastic bags, nip bottles, light bulbs, and a tube of toothpaste.  YTD = 1256



5 comments:

Lis said...

You don't often get an octopus I'll bet. Cool.

Suasco Al said...

Hi Lis, Yes, not very often as they are exceedingly rare in Assabet waters.

suep said...

that turtle is a mystery to me, too - blandings usually yellow chinned? perhaps a spotted? the smooth shell is throwing me off - like an eastern mud turtle?
I have not seen any of those 3 but they do occur in massachusetts.
The Blandings is more of a fen-lover than open river type.Congrats on seeing him, we don't even have peepers yet over here in GF.

Suasco Al said...

Hi Sue, Thanks for the suggestions on the turtles identity. When I enlarge my head-on photo a red-wine coloring is noted above the nose and between the eyes.
I sent you a side and back-end photo in hopes it might help.
The turtle was about the same size as the many painted turtles seen along the river. Also he was in a backwater rather than the main channel.

Suasco Al said...

Turtle identified.
Following Sue's suggestion I contacted the Massachusetts Fisheries & Wildlife's Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program and sent them the turtle photo. Tom of that office responded: "This is a fairly old and worn Stinkpot Musk Turtle. They are widespread and reasonably common in MA, but seldom seen because they seldom come out of the water to bask."
He also mentioned the shell being "fairly tall and "V" shaped" and that the turtle could be approached more easily in the early spring with the still cool water temperatures.
Who can blame him for basking after this New England winter.